The Movie Waffler Tribeca Film Festival 2023 Review - THE FUTURE | The Movie Waffler

Tribeca Film Festival 2023 Review - THE FUTURE

The Future review
An Israeli profiler questions the Palestinian assassin who slipped through her algorithm.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Noam Kaplan

Starring: Reymonde Amsellem, Samar Qupty, Dar Zuzovsky

The Future poster

The Future, Noam Kaplan's taut and deeply intelligent third feature, opens in disorientating in media res. A single take of time-coded video footage follows a striking young Palestinian woman, flanked by dour Mossad members, as she walks the scene through a hotel conference room. With practised Gen Z insouciance she answers questions and specifies detail until the video's final moments wherein she calmly explains, with all the nonchalant poise of the most cool and beautiful TikTokker ever, how she shot the Minister for Space point blank in the head (the pulling of an imaginary gun from her clutch bag is a lovely touch, as is the startled look to camera from a cameo-ing Kaplan). The incongruity of Yaffa's (Samar Qupty) breezy confession is compounded in the next scene, where, via shots framed within the lens of binoculars, we see a woman, Nurit (Reymond Amsalem), watching the town from her vantage point upon the hills. In a split-second shock a house denotates below (the moment genuinely made me jump!), and Nurit ruefully walks away: a job complete.

The Future review

Within The Future's prelude, filtering Yaffa's admission through video and the bombing from the distance of the hill, Kaplan establishes a motif of watching from a remove. Following the more immediate energy of the opening, the film continues this approach as it presents what is essentially a two-hander between Yaffa and her older counterpoint Nurit, which we eavesdrop. A scientist working on a software which scans phone calls and texts for potential terrorist activity (it seems a bit like that Patriot Act apologist surveillance stuff from the old Batman film), Nurit requests to interview Yaffa, the one miscreant who managed to circumvent the operation. Is Yaffa one step ahead of the omnipotent system, or is something else afoot?

The Future review

The film's title refers to both the ongoing conflicts and The Future's narrative drive, the plot hinging not only on Nurit's science fiction proposal (replete with intercut commercials for the intrusive software which have the brisk satirical tinge of a Verhoeven skit) but with Israel's space programme to launch the first woman on the moon, too. The latter is a high-profile gesture of power and progress, hence the Minister's assassination. Developing the film's female focussed themes, Nurit is also courting a surrogate mother for a child of her own, while Yaffa's only anxiety seems reserved for the whereabouts of her own mother: it is clear that both women see the other as an unhealthy proxy for what they are respectively missing. Throughout the film their conversations range from the matter in hand, to the state of both nations, to, ultimately, inevitably, more intimate concerns. The writing, direction and performances are riveting, with Kaplan encouraging us to view the wider implications of war through the microcosm of these two women.

The Future review

Men within the action are glimpsed in the shadows, cut out by the frame. The Future is a film predicated upon how women like Yaffa and Nurit navigate the conflict, and its effect upon them. The absurdity of the map and the territory is suggested by Nurit's pleasant chats with her neighbour about his chickens - shot in a characteristic wide angle, the remote farmland is demarcated by barbed wire and fences which farcically contextualise the interaction. In their conversations, as in the indifferent retelling of the murder in the opening, there is too a composure between Nurit and Yaffa, as if death, destruction and violence are the natural way of things. The Future is serenely horrific in its presentation of accepted terror.

The Future played at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival.

2023 movie reviews